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Everything Everything - Arc (Album Review)

Saturday, 05 January 2013 Written by Jonny Rimmer
Everything Everything - Arc (Album Review)

When a band is difficult to pigeon-hole, such as Everything Everything, it is hard to mark out exactly what development would be. On 'Man Alive', their debut, the quartet were so fiercely unique that it was hard to keep up. However, the atypical math rock structures were never a problem – rather, it was the band's indecisive nature of when to switch gear that held it back from being the memorable release it could have been. That, and the almost comical vocals.

ImageIndeed, Jonathan “Everything” is a very acquired taste, and he's unfortunately irrefutably shrill on 'Arc'. Despite expressing their theatrical side through electronics more than before, it seems that all the kinetic emphasis of the band's sound is still focused on the singer's piercing drone - on the new single 'Kemosabe' he makes Russel Mael sound like Tom Waits. His inability, or rather decision, to not deviate from his register means that otherwise stimulating tracks, like catchy opener 'Cough Cough', can cause storming headaches.

The band's potential is more obvious on the likes of 'Torso of the Week' where the band's feel for dynamics comes to the fore. I mentioned gears in the introduction, and that point is hugely relevant here. Their contrast between abstruse guitar lines in the verses, and the more pronounced rumble of the chorus, works really well, with the bass dipping in and out for authenticity more than anything. This approach to song-writing is just as unconventional as ever, except it's an example of them nailing the contrast.

Other highlights include 'Don't Try' (showcasing their talent for harmonies) and 'Duet', Everything Everything's distinctive stab at grandeur. These songs bring more clarity to what the band need to do to develop – cross their penchant for irregular rhythmic patterns with their less apparent nous for interesting and creative pop hooks. That might sound vague, but smoothing out your eccentricities is a trick that's helped contemporaries like Foals and Bombay Bicycle Club excel on recent records.

'Arc' probably fits the difficult second album bracket better than most. Everything Everything still won't let go of what they want to be, an untamed, wild beast that can't restrain the voice of the group; and aren't quite embracing what they need to be, a creative pop group that exploit off-beat ideas in a less unbridled way. They hint at it often enough, but this is still frustrating.

'Arc' will be released on January 14th, 2013 on RCA Victor. Everything Everything tour the UK in February.

Everything Everything UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed February 6th 2013 - Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth
Thu February 7th 2013 - Brighton Concorde 2, Brighton
Fri February 8th 2013 - Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich
Sat February 9th 2013 - Thekla, Bristol
Mon February 11th 2013 - Junction, Cambridge
Tue February 12th 2013 - HMV Institute Library, Birmingham
Wed February 13th 2013 - Heaven, Under the Arches, London
Thu February 14th 2013 - O2 Academy Oxford, Oxford
Sat February 16th 2013 - Leadmill, Sheffield
Sun February 17th 2013 - O2 Academy Liverpool, Liverpool
Mon February 18th 2013 - Whelans, Dublin
Wed February 20th 2013 - Oran Mor, Glasgow
Thu February 21st 2013 - O2 Academy Newcastle, Newcastle
Fri February 22nd 2013 - Academy 2, Manchester

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